Last Saturday, Elevate Youth had the pleasure of attending Jump Into Spring, a celebration put on by our partner organization Strong Women, Strong Girls. The annual event is a gathering of all SWSG participants, including the female college mentors, strong women leaders, community partners, friends & family, and, of course, the girls. It was fun, inspirational, and very, very loud!
We arrived to cheers from the college mentors who were standing in the hallway awaiting the arrival of about 150 girls. The gymnasium had been decked out with balloons and streamers, and we proceeded to set up the Elevate Youth table while the DJ blasted upbeat tunes from the corner. Pretty soon the entire gym was filled with girls jumping rope, dancing, and clearly having a blast with their college mentors.
We had a few curious glances before girls finally started to venture up to us. They excitedly looked at the table, which we had scattered with pictures of “really cute” animals and cutouts of animal tracks. Once we explained that the game was to match each track to the correct animal, it was hard to keep up with all the girls who wanted to take on the challenge; everyone was bumping elbows trying to match them all!
We were also getting some confused looks at the tarp laying on the ground next to our table, so Alec took the opportunity to grab a group of girls and explain the “Magic Tarp” game. The game requires a group to stand on the tarp and flip it over, but the trick is that no one can touch the ground while doing so. It isn’t easy, and while it took some time they figured it out by locking arms, grabbing hands, and trying their hardest not to fall to the ground.
The rest of the day consisted of inspiring speeches given by strong women and presentations put on by local community organizations. We watched performances by a former SWSG college mentor, a girls’ youth dance group, and the Genki Sparks. We listened to speeches from empowering female community leaders, and did a group stretch led by the event’s sponsor, Athleta. The day ended with everyone participating in the famous SWSG cheer, which goes like this: “I am strong! I am proud! I’m not afraid to shout it loud! Strong Women Strong Girls!” It was a successful event, and we left feeling inspired and proud to be partnered with such a wonderful group of women and girls.